TWO Thanks HRC For Suspending Google from Corporate Equality Index Over ‘Ex-Gay’ App    

142,000 People Sign TWO Petition and Nearly a Dozen Lawmakers Urge Google to Delete Hate App Targeting LGBTQ Youth

WASHINGTON – Truth Wins Out praised The Human Rights Campaign today for suspending Google from its CorporateEquality Index for refusing to delete a dangerous “pray away the gay” app by Living Hope Ministries that targets LGBTQ youth. Truth Wins Out started a petition against Google in January that has 142,000 signatures and counting. Nearly a dozen lawmakers from across the nation have also come forward to condemn Google.

When Truth Wins Out brought the contents of the app to the attention of Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, the companies pulled it from their online stores. Google, however, has dug in its heels and won’t budge. Hopefully, being suspended from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index will finally get through to Google’s leadership that they are doing irreparable harm to the company’s reputation.

“Google needs to stop digging a hole with the LGBTQ community before it’s too late,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The company, whose motto was once ‘Don’t be Evil’, has recklessly chosen to let its reputation die on the hill of an evil ‘ex-gay’ app. For all the smart people who work at Google, it’s amazing that no one at this company has thought this through.”

Besen continues: “All this unnecessary drama to what ends? So, Google can cozy up to right wing extremists by protecting the lofty principle of allowing LGBT children to be psychologically tortured by abusive quacks? This is one of the worst public relations debacles I’ve seen in 30 years. Google should be ashamed of itself and immediately reverse course.”

In fact, Google has recently started intense PR outreach to extreme right wing organizations. The goal for embracing this strategy, according to The Wall Street Journal, is “to defend against the allegation that they are biased against conservatives, a complaint lodged repeatedly last year by President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.”

Just this week, Google named Kay Cole James to its new Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), to give advice on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. James was formerly a vice president of the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council and is now the President of the far right wing Heritage Foundation.

“It is outrageous that Google appears to have slid into the realm of false equivalency where ‘both sides’ are morally equal and where diversity now means allegedly supporting LGBTQ equality, as well as those who fervently oppose it,” said TWO’s Besen.

The public officials who have so far urged Google to dump the app are: State Sens. Brad Hoylman, (D-NY), Adam Ebbin (D-VA), Donna Nesselbush, (D-RI), State Reps. Kelly Cassidy, (D-IL) and Brian Sims, (D-PA); City Commissioners Geoff Kors, (D-Palm Springs-CA), Ryan Mellow (D-Tacoma, WA), Patty Sheehan (D-Orlando, FL) and Denise Simmons (D-Cambridge, MA); Mayor Sean Strub (D-Milford, PA); and Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane (D- Howard County, MD).

By any standard, the app is noxious and discriminatory. It brazenly compares homosexuality to an addiction caused by “deep-seated wounds.” It casually trashes the rich and fulfilling lives of most LGBT people by claiming it “can help homosexuals leave their destructive lifestyles.” Living Hope repeatedly belittles transgender people by saying they suffer from “gender confusion.” The group refers to gay men as “sexually broken guys” who can “walk out of false identities” and claims, without evidence, that the “gay lifestyle” is “spiritually and physically harmful.”

The app also disrespects gay Christians by proclaiming that they “teach a false gospel” and that homosexuality “falls short of God’s best for humanity.” The group promises to walk “individuals toward God and away from bondage.”

TWO sent Google CEO Sundar Pichai an open letter on December 27, explicitly outlining how the app was offensive, dangerous and likely violated the company’s policies.

“It’s time for Google to join Apple, Microsoft and Amazon to delete this heinous app that promotes prejudice and fosters discrimination,” said TWO’s Besen.

Founded in 2006, Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that fights against right wing extremism and anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination.